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The three streams of modern Christian reformers2 min read

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Mark Driscoll, the controversial pastor of Mars Hill Church who sometimes uses profanity, recently gave a talk at the Convergent Conference at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (you can get many great talks on the Resurgence podcast – iTunes RSS).  In this talk, he discussed the three streams of modern Christianity have grown out of an original movement of Christian thinkers, and why he chose to separate from them early on.  Interesting to hear an overview.

  • Relevants – trying to innovate ministry, but not changing evangelical theology.  Includes authors such as Dan Kimball, Donald Miller (Blue Like Jazz), Erwin McManus, and John Burke.  Driscoll likes these guys.
  • Revisionists – a.k.a. the “Emerging Church”, which emphasizes that faith is a ‘conversation’ with God, a dialogue.   Rob Bell, Bryan McClaren, and Doug Padgett.  Driscoll objects to this movement, mostly because it gives in to higher criticism, and doubts the miracles and resurrection of Jesus, if not the entire New Testament record.  Their main influences include such liberal thinktanks as The Jesus Seminar.  Driscoll thinks this movement will hang itself on its own liberal approach, and will become insignificant.
  • Reformed – a.k.a. ‘new reformed’, or the “confessional, contextual Calvinists,” which perhaps has its roots in Neo-Calvinism.   Driscoll counts himself in this stream, which claims to follow in the footsteps of John Stott, J.I. Packer, and Francis Schaeffer.  Stars in this stream include Driscoll himself, as well as Matt Chandler, the Acts 29 network, C.J. Mahaney, Wayne Grudem, Don Carson, and the Sovereign Grace Network.  This group emphasizes biblical authority, but that current methods of doing church are NOT working or reaching people.